College football bowl season takeaways

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We’ve made it to the bowl season of the 2021 college football campaign, and we’re keeping track of each and every one of the games over the final weeks of the year. From breakout players, to notable performances and so much more, our reporters break down everything you need to know from all the 2021 bowl games.

Full schedule | Results | Live file


Friday Dec. 17

Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee 31, Toledo Rockets 24

Toledo was 0-4 in one-score games in the regular season, so it made sense that the Rockets would end the season with one more tight loss. Middle Tennessee went on a 17-0 fourth-quarter run to take an insurmountable lead, eventually prevailing 31-24. MTSU freshman quarterback Nick Vattiato had a lovely outing, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yard bomb to Jarrin Pierce. But the biggest difference-maker was third downs: The Blue Raiders were 7-for-16 on third downs, while Toledo was just 1-for-12 until converting three on its final drive. The Rockets made plenty of explosive plays, but MTSU was able to play keepaway, snapping the ball 85 times and taking late advantage of an increasingly weary Toledo defense.


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After Silas Kelly forces a turnover, his Coastal Carolina teammates celebrate by proclaiming him king, “Game Of Thrones” style.

Tailgreeter Cure Bowl: Coastal Carolina 47, Northern Illinois 41

Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall was set up for success coming into this game, with Northern Illinois’ defense 118th in FBS in points allowed. The sophomore quarterback didn’t disappoint, throwing for 315 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-41 victory that came down to the last play for the Huskies.

Northern Illinois running back Jay Ducker, who came on strong in October for the Huskies, was their breakout performer with 146 yards rushing on 24 carries. Despite the close loss, it was a great season for NIU, which finished the 2020 season 0-6.

The Cure Bowl was the Chanticleers’ second one in as many years, but this time, they were able to secure their first bowl win in school history.



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